Opioids are found in prescription medicines like pain relievers and illegal drugs such as heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuses found that over 80% of heroin addicts started drug abuse with opioids. Although doctors prescribe medicines containing opioids for various conditions, taking higher doses or without prescription leads to opioid abuse and addiction. Opioids work by stimulating the reward function of the brain, causing an addiction to the drug. Such individuals fail to logically assess the risks of abusing drugs, and they have severe cravings and withdrawals. They may not show signs of abuse initially, but there are a few behavioral changes to look out for. Learning these signs is essential to identify anyone with substance abuse around you and help them recover.
1. Taking More Than Prescribed Doses
Doctors prescribe small doses of opioids so patients don’t get addicted to them. However, individuals with opioid addictions misuse their prescriptions in different ways, such as:
- Consuming more doses than prescribed or multiple times every day
- Continue taking drugs even after recovering
- Going to multiple doctors for the same prescription to buy more drugs
- Borrowing others’ prescriptions or drugs by saying they lost theirs
- Taking drugs without any pain
2. Excessive Mood Swings
Individuals with opioid addiction experience excessive mood swings ranging from joy to hostility. Drug cravings and abuse can make a person behave differently and can even lead to psychiatric disorders. Opioids can trigger certain emotions, and the frequency of mood swings depends on the amount abused.
3. Changes in Sleep Patterns
Misusing opioids can cause disruption in sleep patterns and overall daily routines. Individuals with drug addiction sleep at unusual hours, stay awake all night, or sleep excessively throughout the day. The effect of opioids is calming, and it slows down the brain. When taken in larger doses, these drugs can cause elevated feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. It can also cause REM and non-REM sleep phases, decreasing tiredness and restfulness. So when someone uses opioids, they feel like they’ve already slept, causing unusual sleeping patterns.
4. Poor Decision-making
Repeated abuse of opioids can cause cognitive deficits in attention, memory, and decision-making skills. These drugs change how the brain perceives reward and punishment; they enable a person to seek reward without thinking of its punishment or negative consequences. As a result, people with opioid disorder can make poor decisions and struggle with finances, relationships, and careers.
5. Physical Symptoms
Individuals with opioid abuse disorder exhibit multiple physical symptoms; some of these symptoms are more easily recognizable than others. Pinpointed pupils are one of the major indicators of opioid and heroin addiction. You can also detect opioid intoxication (when someone is high on opioids) by observing their movements and speech. Trouble staying straight, slurred speech, and drowsy appearance are also common physical signs of opioid abuse. Besides these signs, there can be other physical health problems such as low blood pressure and temperature, low reaction to pain, and slower heart rate.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs in someone you know, get help today. At MD M.A.T.T., we offer opioid addiction treatment by combining traditional and advanced therapy methods. Our expert addiction doctors and psychiatrist use scientifically proven medication-assisted treatment and behavioral therapy to help people recover with minimal chances of relapse. Reach out to us for details.